Finding (Real) Parts Now Easier
Thanks to the Internet, it's now not only easier to find parts for your plane, it's also simpler to make sure you're not getting something the FAA hasn't approved. Inventory Locator Service has cross-referenced its database of more than five billion (yes, that's a B) parts with the FAA's Part Manufacturer Approval (PMA) system, which lists all the approvals for parts made for certified airplanes. The result, says ILS President Bruce Langen, is better exposure for parts makers and better selection for parts buyers. But what happens if one of those parts falls from grace with FAA? Enter the agency's Unapproved Parts Notices (UPN) online service. When the FAA finds parts that don't measure up, they broadcast it to anyone who wants on their e-mail list. Fortunately, the occurrence of bad or bogus parts is rare (about 10-15 notices a year) so the service won't clog your in-box. Signing on (or signing off) is easy.